Some defense lawyers have a bad habit of over promising and under delivering. Many times a potential client will come to me and tell me how a different defense lawyer they met with promised them all kinds of things. Sometimes the promise is a better plea, and other times the promise is a dismal of a case. In reality no honest or ethical defense lawyer can promise an outcome in a criminal case. The reason is that there are too many variables. The variable range from the facts of a given case, to who the prosecutor is, to who the judge is or who the jurors are.
A good and honest defense lawyer will explain to a client or a potential client that they can’t make any guarantees. I have lost potential clients over the years because I would not promise them a certain outcome. I have had potential clients tell me they would hire me only if I guaranteed a dismissal.
Another area where a good defense lawyer will be honest with the client is when it comes to giving bad news. I don’t like to give bad news to clients but I know it is part of my job. I have heard stories of unethical lawyers simply choosing not to give their clients bad news and leaving the clients in the dark. A good and ethical lawyer will not only give good news to their clients but also bad news that may be hard to hear. If I have a bad case with bad facts and I know it will be difficult to win at trial I tell my clients. I don’t sugar coat the news because that is not helpful to my client.
In my experience most of the defense lawyers in Phoenix, and in the Phoenix greater metro area are honest and would never be dishonest with their clients but unfortunately there are bad apples. There are bad apples in every profession and the profession of criminal defense lawyers is no different.
Knowing which lawyer to hire for your DUI is a major decision. Making the correct decision can have a major outcome on the case and be the difference between no jail and jail or the difference in thousands of dollars in fines. The first question you should ask a lawyer is if they are actually a DUI lawyer? If a lawyer tells you they do mostly civil law but do a few DUI cases a year they are probably not the right person for your case. Ask the lawyer how many DUI cases they handle a year. If the person tells you they only do a handful of cases that is probably not the right person for you also. I tell my clients that I handle several hundred DUI cases a year and this tells potential clients several things. First, it tells them that I know the process and will be able to walk them through it. Second, it tells them that I probably know the latest laws.
Another important question to ask a a potential lawyer for your DUI cases is how long have they been practicing in the field of DUI. An attorney may have 20 years experience but if that experience is in a different area of law how will that help your in your DUI. By asking the two simple questions of a prospective DUI attorney you will be better off.
A common question I get from people worried about being charged with a DUI in Arizona is what they should do if stopped by the police for suspicion of DUI. The first thing you should do is be nice to the police officer. If you are rude and or hostile this will not help your situation. The more combative you are the more agitated the officer will be with you. I once had a client that threw his keys as far as he could when the officer asked for the keys, this is not helpful. Remember that the officer is taking mental notes on how you are acting. If you are rude and or disrespectful your actions will be noted and will make their way into the officer’s report. If you wouldn’t want a jury hearing about how rude you were, there is a simple solution, don’t be rude.
Being polite to the officer does not mean you should give up your rights. It is important that you know your rights and exercise them. The first thing to remember is that you are better off not doing any of the field sobreity tests. The tests are not your friends and they are designed for you to fail them. There is a lot of published science on how the tests are designed for you to fail them. Most people would have a hard time doing the tests sober. You should provide the officers with your driver’s license, insurance, and registration. Obviously, if you don’t have the documents this will be a problem.
At some point the officer will probably ask he or she can draw your blood. Some police departments still rely on breath tests, but most of the major cities have switched to blood. The reason for the switch is that blood is more accurate. Under Arizona law you should submit to the blood draw. If you do not you could lose your license for a year even if you are not convicted of a DUI. If you don’t submit to the blood draw the officer will usually obtain a warrant. Once the warrant is obtained the officer can take your blood. If the suspect is being difficult they will be strapped into a chair and have the blood taken by force.
As always the less information you volunteer to the officer the better off you will be. The officer will usually say they are just trying to figure out what is going on and are not looking to charge you with a DUI. This is usually not true. Trying to talk your way out of the bad situation you are in is rarely a good idea. Keep your composure, keep calm and contact a good DUI lawyer.
The Benikov Law Firm
Mr. Benikov only practices in the areas of criminal defense and DUI defense.
Phone: (602) 253-6592
Address: 3317 E. Bell Road Suite 101-271
Phoenix, AZ 85032